May 26, 2016

Right at Home Birthday Balloons/Hey Stella!

Stamped the balloons in the cute birthday set in the Right at Home May Stamped & Sealed Craft Box and added a quick wash of color.

Loved making that tie-dyed looking paper under the main layer. To get that look, I watercolored the edges of a Neenah Solar White cardstock panel using the same Tombow markers that I used to color the balloons (rubbed the markers on a craft sheet and picked up the ink using very little water). The cardstock warped badly, but I glued that sucker down and then ran it through my Big Shot to flatten.

There's Wink of Stella clear glitter (also in the Stamped & Sealed Craft Box) on those balloons. Every time I type Wink of "Stella" I think of this movie.  Note:  this is loud!

Speaking of balloons, the set comes with cute wiggly ribbon line stamps but I wanted straight ones for this card. so I drew them.  Oh that was so easy.  Too many times to count.  And those balloons are glued onto one piece of cardstock and then the whole thing is popped up. MUCH easier than trying to pop them up individually.


May 25, 2016

Summer Shells

Made this card a couple of weeks ago when we were in the middle of a month long stretch of rain and clouds and I needed to bring some sunshine indoors. Used just the outline, or top layer, of some of the shells in the Hero Arts Color Layering Seahorse set. Combining these bright colors (Altenew Warm Sunshine and Coral Berry) with black makes them pop.

Embellished with Electric Pink and Gold Pico Embellisher. After practicing on scrap paper, I just went for it and added them directly to the card. Love that stuff. If I had the $$ and the space, I'd buy every color!

MOOD WHEN DONE = Happy! The Altenew Dye and the Hero Arts Intense Black ink provide excellent coverage.  Yum.

May 23, 2016

Flower Bouquet

Made a friendly card with the Hero Arts Color Layering Bouquet. This set is a great multi purpose set that was easy to line up (truth!).  Used the edges of the foliage layer to make the patterned paper border.

MOOD WHEN DONE = Happy (and loving the Altenew Inks; used Arctic, Buttercream, and Forest Glades for this card).

May 22, 2016

A Break for Stamping Destroyed My Life

Stamping Destroyed My Life is taking a mini break.  I expect it will resume in July.

Apparently, M needs time to work on her new business, Beautiful, before she can get back to telling her story.  Plus, I am busy taking care of a few minor medical annoyances, stamping, and when company is coming over, cleaning the parts of the house that they'll see.  Plus being retired means having to cook. Argh!

In the meantime, thanks for the comments!

May 20, 2016

Going Around in Circles

Love designs with strong geometric shapes -- circles, triangles, etc.  So I figured, how hard can it be to draw a few circles?  And why can't I keep my craft room neat for longer than 10 minutes?

Version 1:

Stamped circles with a solid circle stamp and watercolored. Should try this again, but the first go round (HA!) was a blotchy mess.  

Version 2:

Drew circles and watercolored them. Learned that I can't draw circles.

Version 3 (final version):

Made a mask out of typing paper and a circle die and drew the circles using the mask and a pencil. Not bad.

Watercolored with Tombow markers and erased the pencil lines when dry. Stamped the heart and arrow from Essentials by Ellen (by Julie) Love You So, trimmed patterned paper from Stampin Up, and adhered everything to an A2 card.

Added some Wink of Stella clear glitter to the heart because why not?

And, get ready, wrote a note inside the card, and MAILED it! 

MOOD WHEN DONE = Maybe I'll try triangles next.  How hard can that be?

May 18, 2016

Golden Thank You

This came out exactly as I had hoped. Yeah!


May 17, 2016

Right at Home: Let's Party!

Nicole, Right at Home's owner, graciously asked me to be on the Right at Home design team for May and June and I was very happy to say yes. Today, Right at Home is releasing the first of its Stamped and Sealed Craft Boxes. May's box is called Let's Party, and it's perfect for making birthday cards, tags, etc. Let's Party includes:
  • Simple Stories "Let's Party" 6x6 paper pad
  • Right at Home Stamps "Sweet Birthday" 4 in x 6 in stamp set (exclusive to box)
  • One package of "Birthday Cake" sequin mix (exclusive to box)
  • Clear Wink of Stella 

Very cute stuff!  My first project using Let's Party is this birthday tag, perfect to add to a little box of chocolates!

I was inspired by these ombre balloons that Julie Ebersole watercolored.  I quickly watercolored the balloons on Neenah Solar White by using a waterbrush to pick up some ink from Tombow markers that I had scribbled on a craft sheet. You aren't going to be able to blend ink or paint when working with watercolors on Neenah paper, but you can get a quick wash, which is what I wanted.  Added a bit of one of the patterned papers on the inside of the tag.

My second project is a colorful birthday card and coordinating envelope.

If you read this blog, you know I love a good envelope liner and the paper that comes with this Box is perfect for lining envelopes. I also used some of the paper for the background for the card. If you look closely, you'll see that the paper has the music and some of the words to Happy Birthday.

Hmm... Now I want cake.  On an orange fancy plate. And chocolates.

Hope you've enjoyed my projects with Let's Party.

MOOD WHEN DONE = Looking for a party!

May 13, 2016

Another Threadnest Attempt!

Can you see the little thread nest? Hard to see but it's there. I used a fiber pulled from a metallic cord.

Used some supplies that I am loving at the moment!
MOOD WHEN DONE:  I'm not buying thread to make threadnests, especially since "threadnest" isn't even a real word. On the other hand, I bought a sewing machine and that needs thread, right?

May 12, 2016

Are You a "No Reply" Commenter? Probably Yes

Edited to address some comments/questions: The fix described below is for those of you with a google account. For example, I believe that if you have a "" email address, a blog through blogger, or otherwise have a google account, this fix works for you.  I'm sorry if this caused confusion.  Nevertheless, if this fix does not apply to you, and you want to be able to be contacted if you've won a prize or asked a question, then you should supply your email address in your comment or continue to check back to see if your comment has been addressed.  I tend to reply in the comment section itself.  Thanks!


Part of being a good blogger is engaging in a bit of back and forth with my readers. However, most of the kind folks who leave comments here are "no reply" commenters. When I get an email notifying me of your comment, you are listed as "no reply" commenter, meaning I cannot reply to you.

If you are hoping to be entered in a giveaway, or asking a question, there is no way to contact you. In addition, sometimes I'd like to send someone a note to thank her or just respond off the blog, but I cannot. Moreover, if you enter a giveaway with the name "Anonymous" and are a no reply commenter, it's a guarantee you aren't going to win.

So, how to fix?

Rather than try and describe it, I'm referring you to my friend Amy Tsuruta.  Amy has been raising this issue for a long time and wrote this blog post last August that describes the problem and how to fix it.  It's not hard!!  Just scroll down that post a bit for the step-by-step.  In fact, I was a no reply commenter until I read Amy's post.

Thanks Amy!!

May 11, 2016

Hero Arts Summer 2016 Blog Hop + Giveaway

Welcome to the Hero Arts summer blog hop, celebrating the availability of the products in the Hero Arts 2016 Summer catalog in the Hero Arts online store! You should have come from the so very creative Jenn Shurkus' blog.

Made two cards with the fantastic Color Layering Seahorse stamp set and, for the first card, the Color Layering Seahorse Frame Cut dies. Although very different, both cards were inspired by my wonderful niece's upcoming wedding in San Diego. I can't wait to to be part of this wonderful day and to spend time by the ocean. Sigh.

The first card, with its clean, bright color scheme, reminds me of the sun and the water.  And, really, it didn't take long to make!  Drew the stripes with a Hero Arts Yellow Dauber (no longer available) and a stencil. Stamped the starfish with Hero Arts Indigo and Summer Sky bold inks.  

The second card was an experiment. I wanted to see whether I could layer black ink over gold and whether black and gold sea creatures and shells would work. Layering Versafine Onyx over Delicata Golden Glitz Metallic worked, and I think the result is interesting (in a good way). The sentiment is stamped in Versafine and embossed with clear embossing powder.  The gold paper is from a deconstructed gold envelope. Just love this sentiment!

Keeping the chat short because there is a lot of eye candy to see in this blog hop.

The next person on the hop is one of my favorite people in the stamping industry -- Julie Ebersole.

And now the giveaways!

Hero Arts is giving away three $25 shopping sprees, drawn from comments left across all blogs in the hop. Please comment by Sunday, May 15 at 11:59pm PT and Hero Arts will announce the winner the following week.

Here's a list of the seriously talented stampers on this hop (I snuck in again!).

The Hero Arts Blog
Amy Tsuruta
Clare Prezzia
Debby Hughes
Jennifer McGuire
Jenn Shurkus
Joan Bardee  (me)
Julie Ebersole
Kathleen Graumuller
Kathy Racoosin
Kelly Rasmussen
Kimberly Crawford
Laura Bassen
Libby Hickson
Lori Craig
Lucy Abrams
Lydia Fiedler
Mariana Grigsby
May Sukyong Park
Nichol Magouirk
Sandy Allnock
Teri Anderson
Wanda Guess
Yana Smakula

MOOD WHEN DONE = Anxious to see what everyone else made!  Oooh, checked them out and these ladies have some serious talent. Oh, and good luck on the giveaways!

May 9, 2016

My City

NOTE:  While I love all comments on this post, I want to make sure you understand that the Hero Arts giveaway is on THIS OTHER post.  Thanks!

I've lived in or near Washington DC most of my life, and I swear it's getting wackier and wackier around here. Our subway system is in a meltdown and then politics!

So, when I saw this Hero Arts Destination Washington DC stamp, I knew I wanted it. (This stamp is part of the Hero Arts 2016 Summer Catalogue and will be available directly from Hero Arts starting on Wednesday, May 11th. It has been available through other retailers since March.)

Regardless of the wackiness that is DC, if you've never been to DC and have a chance to do so, I encourage you to visit and take advantage of all the free things to see and do. It is a fantastic place to see history plus there are a ton of fun things to do, particularly for kids. Warning, summers are hot and sticky, but there is so much to be proud of and just plain enjoy. Ok, tourism pitch over!

  • Colored the stamp with Tombow markers, misted just a tiny bit, and stamped on watercolor paper. Too much water would have washed out the details. Went with a blue/red/purple scheme to cover all of the political spectrum....
  • Carefully painted the stamped image with plain water -- just enough to give a slightly watery look.  
  • Decided not to watercolor a background around the image because the chances I'd screw it up were approximately 100%.
  • Added a few crystal Stickles. 
  • Popped up the watercolor panel on foam tape.
  • The background is Hero Arts Confetti Bold Prints, stamped in Versamark on a deconstructed Paper Source envelope.  Used the same stamp to decorate the envelope liner (Versamark on typing paper).

May 7, 2016

A Favorite Crafty Item -- Envelope Liners

Hello!  Today I'm starting a blog feature focusing on a few of my favorite crafty items -- ones that I use over and over, or otherwise just love.  If you are a craft company and would like one of your products to be featured, leave a thousand dollar bills in an envelope near my front door.  I don't care what you are selling, I can make it sound good.

NO, NO, NO!  I paid full price for these items and just like to spread the word.

Today I'm sharing my love of envelope liners.

Reasons to use an envelope liner:

1.  Take your card to the next level.  Even if your card is meh, the recipient will be so impressed by the liner, they won't notice the card so much.

2.  Practically free and uses up your stash.  You can make a liner by drawing them by hand, using a die, or this Paper Source plastic template. And you'll use materials you already have taking up space in your craft room.

Just make sure to use thin papers -- the liner has to be able to fold inside the envelope. Wrapping paper, tissue paper, vellum, stamped, stenciled typing paper, mulberry paper, etc. Old maps, things your kid drew, magazine pages, notebook paper, planners you never got around to planning, shopping bags, or any paper where the ink will not rub off onto the card. Be creative.

The liner doesn't have to "match".  If you card has circles, draw some lines for the envelopes, etc.  This is a great opportunity to think outside the box.

3.  You will look classy. I bet Kate Middleton's Christmas card has an lined envelope.  And if not, it should.

How to Do It.

I prefer an envelope with a pointy flap, often referred to as a Baronial Envelope. I just like the look. I get most of my envelopes at Paper Source, because there is a Paper Source in my neighborhood.  I'll be walking over to buy a potato organic kale at the grocery store, and Paper Source sucks me in. Envelopes. Buy.

Baronial envelopes are also available on-line in a variety of places, such as Clear and Simple Stamps and Paper Presentation.

I use the Clear and Simple Stamps Envelope Liner Die to make my liners.  It is probably my most used die and therefore, worth the $$$.  Note: I have an earlier version of this die, but I expect their new die to do an even better job.  The Clear and Simple die will fit the Paper Source and the CSS envelopes, but I am not sure about other baronial style envelopes.  In addition, Stampin Up, Sizzix, and Papertrey Ink both sell envelope liner dies to fit the flat fold envelopes those companies sell. Google around.

Here I used vellum colored with a dye ink pad.

I wanted to extend the prettiness of the flowers on the card to the envelope without matching the card. Took a piece of vellum and ran the Hero Arts Neon Ombre Ink pad over it and then wiped the ink off with a paper towel several times. If you don't wipe it down, the ink will just sit there all wet and unusable. I suspected that when I put it through my Big Shot, the ink might rub off, so I put a piece of typing paper between the die and the vellum.  And I was right -- you can see the ink stained white liner above. Just die cut the vellum BEFORE you ink it up and you can avoid this step.

See how pretty?  Impression Obsession flowers (do not know the name) and Rubbernecker Freehand Border frame.  I have the large frame.


May 5, 2016

Happy Cinco de Mayo, a Target Rip Off, and Other Ramblings

Note: if you are looking for the Hero Arts My Monthly Hero post, it is here.

I bought this Studio Calico Cinco de Mayo set because it was 40% off, I think it's cute, and sometimes I buy things on impulse. (It came with a die for the pinata, but the die is much too large for the inked up image.)

Since then, I've learned that Cinco de Mayo celebrates one military victory by Mexico over the French. Apparently, Mexico had defaulted on some debts, and Europe invaded in order to collect its debts. Good grief. The other countries involved negotiated terms of repayment, but France continued its invasion. It took six more years of war for Mexico, with the aid of the US, to win the war.

This holiday is a minor one in Mexico, but in the US it is an opportunity to celebrate the Mexican culture and its contribution to the culture in the US. Of course, we've turned it into one big margarita love fest, but I guess any excuse to party is a good thing. I live in Northern Virginia and our area benefits from the diverse cultures that live here. In fact, my neighborhood is called the Mosaic District to reflect all the different cultures that live and work in Northern Virginia.

Back to the card.

I used this Hero Arts Neon Red to Purple Ombre ink pad to ink up the pinata and the bottom edge of the card.  I love this ink! It plays off black beautifully. It was an impulse buy at my LSS, and I'm glad I got it.

That little strip of wood paper towards the bottom of the card was an impulse buy at Target from its Handmade Modern line of craft supplies. It's called "12 x 12 Wood Veneer Sheets," and the name is a bit of a consumer fraud. Only one of the sheets is 12 x12.  I wonder if I could sue and make a zillion dollars? Go out and buy some and we'll do a class action!! Actually, the dimension of each sheet are listed on the package in small print. I bought this stuff in a store and could have read the back, but anyone buying online would be ripped off. That said, I got it on sale and like it. It is self adhesive and a little goes a long way (you can die cut it also).

I covered the pinata and the words with Pico Clear Embellisher. Love this stuff because it comes in a container with a thin needle and is available in a ton of colors. After the words dried, I used a few Copics to color over them.  This was the perfect way to use the Copics and not worry about bleed through.  I'm trying to show the shine in this picture.

I like!

As I write this, I'm in Chicago accompanying the husband on a work trip.  It is cold and windy and gray, but our hotel has a beautiful view of the river. Unfortunately, I had to make an emergency trip to a doctor to deal with a very painful shoulder/arm tendon issue. Let's hope the steroid shot kicks in soon as it is a bear having the use of only one arm. Luckily, I'm able to type and am so grateful I was able to see a specialist on a moment's notice. Shocker!

Can you tell by this rambling post that I've been stock in a hotel room for two days watching politics? HA!

MOOD WHEN DONE = Happy, and apparently, implusive!

May 2, 2016

May My Monthly Hero Kit + Blog Hop + Giveaway

Welcome to the Hero Arts My Monthly Kit May release, blog hop, and giveaway.  You should have come from May Sukyong Park's blog (swoon, seriously!).

----> Click here to see the kit, and the two add ons.   <----

(I also have pics of the kit, etc. below)

This is the perfect kit for spreading love, thanks, kindness, etc. with a card or a gift card (or both). And you know how the Hero Arts kits work, once the kit is sold out, it's out!  It's $29.99, which is a good  deal for a full size stamp set, large die, and, as my husband would say, "assorted accoutrements" (see pic at end of post).

The kit was inspired by Jennifer McGuire and her wonderful Share Handmade Kindness campaign. The so very talented Kelly Rasmussen designed the stamps and the gift card holder die.

For my project, I chose to make a card, coordinating envelope liner, and gift card holder for a teacher. After all, it is National Teacher Appreciation Week.  Love that the gift card holder fits perfectly in a vertical or horizontal A2 card.

The circle on the card is made from Hero Arts acetate cardstock, stamped with StazOn. The
card opens up to a vellum gift card holder made with the die in the kit, which contains a gift card (I inserted a white piece of cardstock in front of the gift card so that the contents would be a surprise and it would look pretty.)

I don't have a child with a teacher anymore, but I do have a friend who is a teacher and I'm going to surprise her with this.  Talk about overworked and underpaid!

Here's the full list of the fantastic bloggers (I snuck in!) participating in the hop.  One commenter will win the kit. Good luck!

Hero Arts Blog
Joan Bardee  (you are here)

The kit, add ons, and even the cool backer card!


May 1, 2016

Stamping Destroyed My Life: Chapter 20

To start this story at the beginning, please go here and follow the links. And thanks for reading!  Remember: this is fiction.  No laws, tax advice, stamp advice, or design ideas have any validity!

Chapter 20:  Opening Day

7:00 am:  Too nervous to eat breakfast, so I ate a piece of last night's quiche and a Diet Coke.

Beth and I each sat at our respective computers begging the Beautiful "sale" icon to flash. We had invested so much of our money and time that we needed that icon to flash, and flash often.

Most people don't realize how much it costs to start a small business or how much of your soul is involved. You sit at your computer and press click, or walk into a store and bring an item to the cash register, without giving it a thought. But, there's a ton of work between "hey, let's start a business" to flashing sale icons.

We were determined to be in the 55% - 65% of small businesses that were in business within 5 years of starting. In order to increase our chances, I took a course through my county on developing a business plan. It was kind of boring to go through the steps of writing it all down, but doing so helped Beth and me to literally get on the same page. We began by dividing up our responsibilities. Beth did the product development, art work, and web design. I did the marketing, packing, and money stuff. Regardless, we made all our big decisions together.

I wanted to get the stamps made overseas because it was so much cheaper, but after comparing the samples, Beth insisted that we make them in the US and I gave in. But our biggest battle was over "free" shipping.  I wanted to jack up our prices and offer free shipping to anyone who bought at least $35. That would encourage folks to buy more than they originally planned. Beth said shipping was too expensive and would eat into our profits. She didn't seem to understand that customers spent more with free shipping and the more they spent, the higher our profits. So, we compromised on free shipping if the customer spent at least $50.

7:30 am: Half a piece of the best coconut cake.

I had to get the kids breakfast and out the door. I had no choice but to stop being the CEO of Beautiful and be Mom for an hour.  It was just as well, because staring at a screen that was not doing a thing was torture.

8:30 am:  Cup of tea.

I was back home. No matter how many times I promised myself that I would not look, I ended up back at the computer, staring at the screen. Nothing was flashing. Rebooted the computer just in case it was my machine. Talked to Beth. She was calm.

"We've only been open for an hour and a half, silly."


9:32 am:  The other half of the piece of coconut cake.

Our first sale! Someone had purchased both sets and the blocks. Checked to see who it was. Susan! God bless Susan Raihala. I wasn't sure whether Susan was buying to be nice to me, or because she liked the idea of clear stamps, but I didn't care. A sale was a sale. Packaged it all and got it ready to mail. First step toward taking over the stamping world!!

10:30 am:  Nothing.

Checked Splitcoast to see if there was any chatter about Beautiful.

Silence. Was it time to post using my phony name? 

11:00 am:  3 macaroons.

Tick tock. Checked Splitcoast again. Yes! Someone with the user name 7grls534 posted:

"Anyone hear of Beautiful stamps? I saw an ad here. They are clear?  What's up with that?"

A few minutes later Jadeite8 posted:

"Plastic stamps?  Never!  I'm sticking with real rubber."

I wondered where Jadeite8 lived. I wanted to pay her a visit. Could one anonymous Jadeite ruin our company? 

11:15 am:  Pulled myself together. Called Susan to thank her for the order and asked her if she would go on Splitcoast and say something nice. We needed a known and respected voice to speak up before some Jadeite took us down.  

11:28 am:  One Twizzler.

Susan posted:

"I just ordered!  Love the designs. Will let you know how they stamp, but I have high hopes. It looks like it will be so easy to line up the flowers with the sentiments.  I'll report back!"

I want to marry Susan.

12:00 pm: Lean Cuisine and 7 red Twizzlers.

No, the sale icon isn't flashing, that's just my eye twitching.

4:00 pm.  Empty Twizzlers bag and a few glasses of Chardonnay.


This is a disaster.

My former craft room now has shelves full of stamps, blocks, and packing materials, as well as my computer and printer.  I've moved all my craft stuff to the basement because I no longer have time for stamping. Beautiful has become my life, and we've had one sale and that one was to a friend.

I'm so frustrated. I know that if we sell out on our very first day we will create an enormous buzz and our next release will sell out immediately. Everyone loves what everyone else loves even if no one actually loves any of it.  

I have to move this along. I start buying from Beautiful. At first, just a few sets. Then a few more. We had 500 of each stamp set in inventory. I "bought" 499 of each one. I know that Beth can see the names and addresses of our customers, so I created a different name and address for each sale. I put in my real credit card number so the sales looked real and figured I'd cancel the orders tomorrow.

5:38 pm:  A few Tums.


Beth calls.  She's shouting.

"Oh my goodness, M.  Have you seen what's happening?  The store is going wild! We've sold out!! This is one of the best days of my life!"

I start whooping along with her.

"Beth, this is it!! We are going to make it. I love you, but I have to start printing labels and getting the stuff out the door. Could you please put a sold out message on the store and then go on Splitcoast and tell them we've sold out but folks can get on our waiting list?"

Beth replied, "Oh, M. That's a fantastic idea! You are a marketing whiz! Thank you so much for trusting me to be your partner."

"Now you are being silly, Beth. This was all your idea. Talk to you tomorrow."


During dinner that night, I told John and the kids that we had sold out. I knew that is what Beth would tell her husband and I didn't want inconsistent stories. Besides, it was just a question of waiting. We would sell out soon enough.

Lots of high fives. Then John had an idea.

"Listen kids. This is mom's big day. She's done the impossible and sold out on her very first day in business. She can't possibly get out 500 orders in a reasonable time without help. And the sooner she ships, the happier her new customers will be. Why don't we help her pack and mail all the packages? With all of us helping, we can get this done tonight. What do you think, M, isn't that a great idea?"

Next:   Chapter 21